The author who is known for the massive volumes of books he has written, and his very addictive humor, especially with the names of his books, Alexander McCall Smith, defines versatility.
McCall Smith has written everything from intriguing crime/thriller novels to children’s books loved by kids and interesting nonfiction pieces.
Over his entire career (which is still running), McCall has written over 150 books in multiple genres. Born in modern-day Zimbabwe, McCall has lived in different parts of the world. Still, it is Africa that has impacted both his personal and professional life.
His works have been influenced by African culture, the native people, and his perception of it. Out of all his works, the most famous and read ones include the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, Corduroy Mansions, and the Sunday Philosophy Club series.
It is obvious that someone who wants to start reading all the books by Smith will be intimidated by the sheer volume of this ocean of books. For those people, we have created an exhaustive list of all the Alexander McCall Smith books in reading order.
You’ll find all of McCall Smith’s books arranged neatly in different book series, in reading order. So let’s start so you can create your reading journey of his books. Here are all the other book series included in this article:
|Sr. No.||Title||Publication Date||Print Length||Publisher||Where to Buy|
|1||The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency||November 1, 2005||256 pages||Pantheon||Amazon|
|2||Professor Dr von Igelfeld Books||January 1, 2006||Random House Large Print Publi||Amazon|
|3||Isabel Dalhousie Books ||July 12, 2005||272 pages||Anchor||Amazon|
|4||44 Scotland Street Books||April 21, 2005||368 pages||Birlinn||Amazon|
|5||Big-Top Mysteries Series||April 4, 2019||104 pages||Barrington Stoke||Amazon|
|6||Mythological Books||January 1, 2007||152 pages||Isis Large Print||Amazon|
|7||Corduroy Mansions Books||October 7, 2009||320 pages||Birlinn||Amazon|
|8||The School Ship Tobermory Books||October 11, 2016||224 pages||Delacorte Press||Amazon|
|9||Paul Stuart Books||April 4, 2017||240 pages||Pantheon||Amazon|
|10||Detective Varg Books||February 4, 2020||240 pages||Anchor||Amazon|
Table of Contents
The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency
Many people might consider this series a murder mystery/ thriller, but that’s not true. Despite the title of the series, the word “detective,” the core theme of this series, is quite light-hearted.
It is fascinating to see the author writing a story from the perspective of a middle-aged black woman. The story is about a middle-aged black woman who is divorced. But with her cunning intellect and smartness, Precious Ramotswe solves cases and helps women around her.
While there are more than 20 books in this series, going through all the books is a breeze, thanks to the writing style. The mysteries are well-written, with plot twists and fast pacing. The stories are fun and quick to read, and cute as well.
The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency has over 20 books in the series. Here are all the books in reading order:
- The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency
- Tears of the Giraffe
- Morality for Beautiful Girls
- The Kalahari Typing School for Men
- The Full Cupboard of Life
- In the Company of Cheerful Ladies
- Blue Shoes and Happiness
- The Good Husband of Zebra Drive
- The Miracle at Speedy Motors
- Tea Time for the Traditionally Built
- The Double Comfort Safari Club
- The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party
- The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection
- The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon
- The Handsome Man’s De Luxe Café
- The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine
- Precious and Grace
- The House of Unexpected Sisters
- The Colors of All the Cattle
- To the Land of Long Lost Friends
- How to Raise an Elephant
- The Joy and Light Bus Company
- A Song of Comfortable Chairs
As the name suggests, this book series (calling it a series would be a stretch as there’s just one book here) is about the cleverness of the ladies. This book contains a collection of five short stories about different women and the struggle they go through.
With around 100 pages, this is a sweet and small book with feel-good stories of love, hope, and heartbreak. A perfect read while you sip coffee in the evening.
- The Cleverness of Ladies
Professor Dr von Igelfeld Books
While many may consider this book series to be for younger readers, the story and the characters in this series are so exciting and fun to read they will pull in readers of different ages.
Professor Dr Von Igelfeld is about the professor named Dr. Moritz-Maria V on Igelfeld and his misadventures. This series is also where you’d find the most hilarious, confusing, and exciting titles.
For anyone looking for something fun and exciting to read, go for this series. There are five books here, but each is as hilarious and entertaining as they are named. Here are all five books in reading order:
- Portuguese Irregular Verbs
- The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs
- At the Villa of Reduced Circumstances
- Unusual Uses for Olive Oil
- Your Inner Hedgehog
Isabel Dalhousie Books (Also Called The Sunday Philosophy Club Series)
The Isabel Dalhousie series dims the light a bit, making things more severe and hard-hitting compared to the other book series mentioned above. This series is called The Sunday Philosophy Club, and readers will see more emotional play here than wordplay.
Isabel, the protagonist of this story, witnesses a death; a man falls from the upper circle of a hall. And for some reason, a desire rises in her to find the reason behind the death. This was not a suicide; someone was behind all this for some reason.
But things are not as simple as it seems. While the case is convoluted, the primary focus of this story is the complex relationship between the characters and the struggle one has to go through due to the complexity of these relationships.
As of writing this article, there are fourteen books in this series. Here are all the books in reading order:
- The Sunday Philosophy Club
- Friends, Lovers, Chocolate
- The Right Attitude to Rain
- The Careful Use of Compliments
- The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday
- The Lost Art of Gratitude
- The Charming Quirks of Others
- The Forgotten Affairs of Youth
- The Uncommon Appeal of Clouds
- The Novel Habits of Happiness
- A Distant View of Everything
- The Quiet Side of Passion
- The Geometry of Holding Hands
- The Sweet Remnants of Summer
Isabel Dalhousie Short Stories/Novellas
If you want to start with something light, more like an appetizer than the full course meal, beginning with the Isabel Dalhousie novella series would be the perfect way to understand the writing, stories, and characters.
There are three books in this short stories series. Here’s the reading order for the same:
- The Perils of Morning Coffee
- At the Reunion Buffet
- Sweet, Thoughtful Valentine
44 Scotland Street Books
44 Scotland Street books bring back the light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek mood and tones of McCall Smith’s books. This series contains the most colorful, engaging, and intriguing characters. And there are so many characters.
The best thing about the story is the interaction between the different characters, the emotions they cultivate for each other, and the complicated love triangles. There are great mysteries in this book that will leave readers wondering how that happens. But there are other highlights of this series.
44 Scotland Street is a big book series with 15 novels. Here are the books arranged in reading order:
- 44 Scotland Street
- Espresso Tales
- Love Over Scotland
- The World According to Bertie
- The Unbearable Lightness Of Scones
- The Importance of Being Seven
- Bertie Plays the Blues
- Sunshine on Scotland Street
- Bertie’s Guide to Life and Mothers
- The Revolving Door of Life
- The Bertie Project
- A Time of Love and Tartan
- The Peppermint Tea Chronicles
- A Promise of Ankles
- Love in the Time of Bertie
Big-Top Mysteries Series
This book is for junior readers—a great story with a main character resembling Sherlock Holmes. The writing style is simple yet fun, and the pacing will keep the kids hooked to this book. There is just one book in this series:
When we said that Alexander McCall Smith is one of the most versatile authors, this is what we were referring to. McCall Smith also wrote mythology books, not just children’s or mystery novels.
Dream Angus is about the Celtic God of love, dreams, beauty, and youth. The storytelling style and the way McCall presents the different tales of this God make the book a joy to read. But that’s not all.
Readers will get five brilliant stories about the modern alter egos of Dream Angus, which are brilliant. There is just one book in the series, so there’s no order to follow. Pick it from the store and start a great mythological story with a modern take on it.
Corduroy Mansions Books
Suppose you love the storytelling style of McCall, where he brings a host of interesting characters and places them in one place to interact. In that case, you will love the Corduroy Mansion series.
This series is one of the most popular series, and that is for a reason. The Corduroy Mansion is an old London mansion filled with some of the most interesting, loving, and loathsome characters ever created!
Each character has a storyline, ambitions, and struggles. What’s so fun about this series is seeing all these characters interact and quarrel with each other, resulting in a laughter-fest.
The humor is on-point, the story is fantastic, and the characters are interesting, making this series a perfect pick if you are craving something similar. This series perfectly summarizes the style and tone of Smith’s books. Here are the books in reading order:
The School Ship Tobermory Books
The School Ship Tobermory series is a young adult book series with undertones of mystery and thrill. This series is meant for the middle grader and is chock-full of adventure, risk, mystery, and fun.
A film crew arrives at Tobermory Bay, and while everything seems fine on the surface, the protagonists of this series, Fee and Ben, soon discover that something sinister is cooking underneath. Go on an adventure with these two unforgettable characters and solve the mystery in Tobermory Bay.
Here are the books in reading order:
Paul Stuart Books
A book series made of stories with the most bizarre and exciting plots, even the names of these books will make the readers peek into it in curiosity. The books have a beautiful, heart-warming story about the protagonist named Paul Stuart.
Paul Stuart is an author who needs to complete his book. And to do that, he decides to go to a peaceful town in Italy. But things go awry when his rental car is stolen, and he has no other way of traveling.
Weirdness is not a foreign concept in Smith’s books, and this series proves it until a man comes and offers him a wait for it, a bulldozer! So what happens with Paul Stuart next? Read the story to get a heartwarming experience about this author’s journey.
Here are the two books in this series:
Detective Varg Books
Another great book series with the idiosyncratic style of Alexander McCall Smith, the Detective Varg book series is filled with intriguing characters and bizarre stories. The story’s protagonist is named Ulf Varg, and the story is set in Sweden.
This book series is a light-hearted story with a fest of quirky characters. Pick this series if you want to read something witty, bizarre, and strangely fun. The stories are entertaining, and the characters come with strange cases.
Here are the books in this series arranged in reading order:
Detective Varg Novellas
- The Strange Case of the Moderate Extremists
Children’s Book Series
Despite being a writer primarily for adults, Alexander McCall Smith has written many children’s books. Because his characters are so colorful, engaging, and intriguing, they become the best contender for capturing the attention of young readers.
There are over five different children’s books series by Smith. They include:
- Akimbo series
- Harriet Books
- Max and Maddy’s books
- Precious Ramotswe’s Very First Cases books
- Young Corgi books
- Standalone Children’s books
Please look at the children’s book series with their books arranged in reading order.
- Akimbo and the Lions
- Akimbo and the Crocodile Man
- Akimbo and the Elephants
- Akimbo and the Snakes
- Akimbo and the Baboons
Harriet Bean Books
- The Five Lost Aunts of Harriet Bean
- Harriet Bean and the League of Cheats
- The Cowgirl Aunt of Harriet Bean
Max And Maddy Books
Precious Ramotswe’s Very First Cases Books
- The Great Cake Mystery
- Precious and the Monkeys
- Precious and the Mystery of Meerkat Hill
- Precious and the Mystery of the Missing Lion
- Precious and the Zebra Necklace
Young Corgi Books
- Alix and the Tigers
- Suzy Magician
- The Tin Dog
- White Hippo
- Film Boy
- The Joke Machine
- Marzipan Max
- The girl who changed the weather
- Calculator Annie
- Springy Jane
- Who Invented Peanut Butter?
- My Chameleon Uncle
- The Doughnut Ring
- The Princess Trick
- Paddy and the Ratcatcher
- The Banana Machine
- Billy Rubbish
- The Bubblegum Tree
- The Watermelon Boys
- The Popcorn Pirates
- Monkey Boy
- Teacher Trouble
- The Spaghetti Tangle
- The Muscle Machine
- Boing Boing
- Freddie Mole
- The Great Clown Conundrum
- Noah Wild and the Floating Zoo
Here are all the standalone novels written by Smith. Since these are standalone stories, there is no specific reading order. You can start with any of these and get a great reading experience.
- Uncle Gangster
- La’s Orchestra Saves the World
- Fatty O’Leary’s Dinner Party
- The Forever Girl
- Hari & His Electric Feet
- Good Pilot, Peter Woodhouse
- Max Champion and the Great Race Car Robbery
Collection of Short Stories
Smith wrote a lot of books and a lot of short stories too. The author claimed that he wrote over 1,000 words every day. This explains how he was able to produce so many literary works.
Here are all the short stories written by Smith. If you want to start with something light that does not require a commitment to completing the series, then go with these short stories.
- Children of Wax: African Folk Tales
- Heavenly Date and Other Flirtations
- “Trouble at the North Pole” and Other Stories
- The Perfect Hamburger and Other Delicious Stories
- The Girl Who Married a Lion: and Other Tales from Africa
- The Baboons Who Went This Way and That: Folktales from Africa
- The Book That Changed My Life
- Trains and Lovers
- Chance Developments
- Pianos and Flowers
- Marvelous Mix-ups
- In a Time of Distance and Other Poems
- Tiny Tales: Stories of Romance, Ambition, Kindness, and Happiness
Again proving the versatility of Alexander McCall Smith, here are three nonfiction books that are just as interesting and fun to read as his fiction books. Since these are nonfiction books, there is no reading order.
- What W. H. Auden Can Do for You
- A Work of Beauty: Alexander McCall Smith’s Edinburgh
- Who Built Scotland
- One City
- A New Omnibus of Crime
- The Sunday Night Book Club
- The Best British Mysteries IV
- Midsummer Nights
- Imagined Lives
- No Rest for the Dead
- The Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime 8
- What You Wish For: A Book for Darfur
- Better Than Fiction: True Travel Tales From Great Fiction Writers
- How Rude! Modern Manners Defined
- OxCrimes: 27 Killer Stories from the Cream of Crime writers
- Who Built Scotland
It takes a lot of effort to create so many exciting stories that cater to different age groups and be loved by them. But Alexander McCall Smith’s works are a testament to his brilliance and competence in writing great stories.
Starting any one of his book series is a joy in itself. A dazzling range of vibrant characters, unique and imaginative plots, and stories will leave a happy and warm imprint in your mind. So pick the series and start reading.